Board Member Job Description


The purpose of this pack is to provide you with information about Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s activities and priorities. It should also help clarify what is expected of a Director of the organisation. Becoming a Company Director is an important decision in an individual’s life. It is a mutually rewarding experience in which the organisation benefits from the individual’s participation as a director, but it is important that the director also gains from the experience.
Vision, aims and core values

The Catherine Wheels vision Catherine Wheels Theatre Company exists to create theatre that is an essential part of the lives and development of all children and young people. The aims of the company Catherine Wheels Theatre Company has five aims. They are underpinned by core values which are central to the philosophy of the company:

Aims and Core Values:

To produce the highest quality, surprising and challenging theatre for children and young people.

Create theatre that engages, inspires and stimulates its audience

Present new worlds, ideas and experiences which develop young people intellectually and emotionally

Drive forward a varied programme of theatre led by an artistic vision
To provide ground breaking educational experiences

Respect the audience and put their needs at the heart of our programme.

Enable children and young people to develop a meaningful engagement with theatre

To reach every child in Scotland

All children in Scotland have a right to experience high quality theatre.

High quality theatre should be accessible to all

Touring patterns and pricing policies should promote accessibility

To have a strong international profile

Scotland¡¦s place on the international stage is central to the vibrancy and the investment in Scottish theatre

International touring enriches and inspires the creative process

To play a key role in the development of vibrant children’s theatre sector in Scotland.

A healthy and vibrant children’s theatre sector is vital to the growth of Catherine Wheels

Collaboration and partnership working is key to a vibrant theatre sector

Background to the company:

Catherine Wheels Theatre Company was founded in 1999 by Gill Robertson. Gill collaborated with Annie Wood and Andy Manley on the company’s first production, Martha. The show was an immediate success and planted the company firmly as one of the key children¡¦s theatre companies in Scotland. Martha was booked almost immediately for an extensive North American tour and a run on Broadway, which began the company’s ongoing international profile.

In 2002 the company appointed Paul Fitzpatrick on a freelance basis as the producer for the company. When Catherine Wheels was awarded core funding in 2005, Paul became full time and a full time production manager and full time administrator were also appointed. Gill Robertson and Paul Fitzpatrick are now the joint chief executives of Catherine Wheels.

Types of productions:

Catherine Wheels primary focus is creating theatre. Productions can tell any story and tackle any theme. The productions fall loosely into two age groups, those suitable for children under the age of 8, and those suitable for those over 8. The unifying characteristic of a Catherine Wheels production is that adults are equally as engaged by the production as the children.

There are four strands to the artistic output of Catherine Wheels Theatre Company:

New work (including site-specific and non-theatre venues)
Arts in Education

The repertoire:

Productions that are successful and create a demand enter the Catherine Wheels repertoire. The repertoire is an excellent way of maximising the original investment in the production as well as developing audiences throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The key productions in the Catherine Wheels repertoire are Martha, Lifeboat, Cyrano, Kappa, The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk, Hansel and Gretel and White.

Site-specific and non-theatre venues:

In 2006 Gill Robertson worked with the National Theatre of Scotland to produce a site-specific performance for their inaugural project, Home. The project was an enormous success and Catherine Wheels re-staged the production as a promenade performance in the spring of 2007 under the title Hansel and Gretel. The show has since been at the Barbican Theatre in London and the New Victory Theatre in New York, where it was nominated for two Broadway Drama Desk Awards.

The international stage:

The work of the company is in demand throughout the UK and internationally. It has become a pattern that each year the company tours UK-wide and internationally. Countries include Canada, USA, Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, China and for the first time this year France and Japan.

Arts in Education:

Engagement with our audience is at the heart of the vision and drive of the company. In 2004 we first started producing resource packs for teachers to enable them to deepen their pupil’s engagement with the productions. In 2006 we offered, for the first time, pre-performance workshops for pupils and development workshops for teachers. The demand was impressive and indicated an area for development of the company.

Supporting artists:

Supporting artists, both established and emerging, is a key activity for Catherine Wheels. Many opportunities arise on an ad-hoc basis, such as work experience placements for emerging artists and roles on the creative team of new productions for established artists. Others are strategic, such as supporting Andy Manley to develop his practice and providing administrative, managerial and artistic support for puppeteer Shona Reppe.


A healthy and vibrant sector is essential to the success of Catherine Wheels. The joint chief executives take as many opportunities as possible to represent their sector. This involves regular attendance at Federation of Scottish Theatre meetings, attending festivals, conferences and showcases and working with other companies to improve the profile of the sector and to develop best practice. Gill Robertson sits on the board of the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Paul Fitzpatrick previously sat on the board of the Independent Theatre Council and is still closely involved with the Council, and Catherine Wheels is a member of Young Audiences Scotland.

Touring Circuit:

Catherine Wheels has performed in 26 of the 32 local authority areas in Scotland, and only 3 local authorities have never been visited by the company. In addition the company has performed in England, Republic of Ireland, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and China.

Who funds Catherine Wheels?:

Catherine Wheels primary funder is Creative Scotland. In 2005 the company moved from being a project funded company to a core-funded company. This had a significant impact on the artistic output of the company and also changed the structure of the company moving from 1.5 full-time core staff to 4 full-time core staff. East Lothian Council is Catherine Wheels’ primary local authority partner. Catherine Wheels is based at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, where East Lothian Council supports the company in kind by providing office space.


The organisation employs the following staff on a permanent basis: Artistic Director: Gill Robertson Producer: Paul Fitzpatrick Projects Manager: Louise Gilmour Wills Production Manager: Craig Fleming Finance and Administration (p/t) – Anna Derricourt A number of freelance artists and collaborators are regularly employed on a contract basis for projects and performance. Legal and professional advice is taken where appropriate: Our accountants and auditors are currently Wylie & Bissett.


Catherine Wheels is governed by a voluntary board of directors that meets on a regular basis to plan and review the organisation’s plans. The annual meeting cycle begins in December each year with a planning and budgets agenda, followed by year end review and CS funding agreement in March; the presentation of draft accounts in June; and the AGM in September. Present Directors of the Board are:

Marion Bourbouze (Chair)
Marion is Head of Marketing at Scottish Book Trust, the agency for the promotion of reading and writing. She previously worked for The Audience Business and has nearly 20 years experience in marketing and arts management.

Sally Greig (Treasurer)
Sally is an experienced investment manager at Baillie Gifford, an independent investment management firm based in Edinburgh and has previously worked as an economist for the Bank of England.

Gary Smith
Gary is Founding Partner of HUSH Communications, a direct marketing agency based in Edinburgh, and has over 25 years experience in direct marketing and advertising.

Fiona Pearson
Fiona is currently undertaking a Diploma for Professional Management Coaches. She has nearly 30 years of experience as a lecturer and in arts education, most recently as education officer at National Museums of Scotland.

The directors regularly review the composition of the board in relation to skill, ability and background. The following areas of expertise are currently represented on the Board: Arts policy, arts in education, finance, project management, marketing, audience development, research.

Duration of Board Membership:

There is currently no limit to the amount of time a director can serve on the board. In accordance with the Articles of Association, one third of the directors will retire from office every year and are eligible for re-election.

Board Training & Development:

Board induction Following interview, potential new directors are given the opportunity to attend a board meeting as observer. Following this, if both sides are in agreement, the appointment is made. Directors receive an information pack giving them up to date information on the company’s legal and financial position and outline plans for the future.

Board Evaluation:

The board formally reviews the performance of the company and the artistic quality of the company¡¦s activities. All board members are expected to attend all productions and these are formally evaluated at the board meeting following the performance. The joint chief executives follow an evaluation structure and present their own artistic quality evaluation to the board, the board then use the same structure to evaluate the production. The evaluation is submitted to Creative Scotland as part of the Quality Framework.

Board Meetings and Development:

CWTC is committed to a programme of board development. Every year, in addition to the quarterly board meetings, the board also attend a board development day which focuses on one topic and aims to move the company forward and develop the working relationship of the board members.

What Catherine Wheels Expects of its Board Members:

Definition of the Board: An empowered body of persons, charged before the law, with ultimate accountability for and authority over organisational activity.

Legal and Financial Roles:

Ensure compliance with the objects, purposes and values of the organisation and with its governing document
Set or approve policies, plans and budgets to achieve agreed objectives.
Monitor performance against objectives
Ensure compliance with relevant laws, regulations and requirements or regulatory bodies, eg Companies House, Financial Regulations (SORP), Charities Law (OSCR).
Ensure CWTC’s financial solvency

Artistic/leadership and advocacy roles:

Uphold and apply the principles of equality and diversity
Appoint and line manage the Artistic Director
Review and manage risk
Be responsible employers
Provide leadership, support and encouragement
Act as ambassadors
Provide a strategic overview
Board artistic duties:
Approve the artistic policy
Approve the programme, ensuring that policy/aims are fulfilled. Financial projections will be met. Funding conditions are met. CWTC is adequately funded. Establish a monitoring policy

Board general duties are to:

Act in the interest of Catherine Wheels
Put the interests of CWTC before those of any other charity
Seek, in good faith, to ensure that CWTC operates in a manner consistent with its objectives.
Act with care and diligence that is reasonable to expect of a person who is managing the affairs of another person/body.

Board members are expected to attend board meetings and development days regularly, be prepared when they come, having read all preparatory documents and should attend all (or most) Catherine Wheels shows.

Roles of Chair and Treasurer Role of the Chair At meetings:

Chair meetings actively
Stimulate participation of all board members
Prevent long-winded contributions
Ensure clear decisions are reached

Between meetings:
Act as principal spokesperson for the board
Line management, support and development of the artistic director and producers
Act as liaison between board and senior staff
Be knowledgeable about skills/experience of board members
Develop agendas with producer for board meetings
Provide leadership
Review the board’s progress annually
Negotiate board retirement/resignations
Be active in relationship with funders
Crisis/emergency decisions

Role of the Treasurer:

The treasurer is the person specifically entrusted with the funds of the organisation with responsibility for overseeing and keeping account of the finances. Paid staff will deal with the day-to-day financial business.

Duties of the treasurer are to:

Advise the committee on financial matters, both positive and negative
Control and account for the organisation’s finances
Advise on and ensure compliance with finance policy
Attend meetings of the finance sub-committee (if there is one)
Prepare the treasurer’s report for the annual general meeting
Liaise with the appointed Auditor or Independent Examiner for the annual review of accounts
Advise the organisation’s management committee of its financial requirements for the year ahead

Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s legal status
CWTC is a company limited by guarantee
CWTC is a registered charity
CWTC is VAT registered

The Memorandum and Articles of Association cover in detail the way in which the Company must be managed. They form an appendix to this document.

CWTC is a registered charity number SC029808 and a company limited by guarantee. The company is VAT registered, number 897 7289 37.